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Comedones are wild. Seriously—think about it. All this gunk (read: dead skin cells, oil, leftover makeup) just gathers together, decides to clog up your pores, and eventually turns black—or, if pus and inflammation also decide to join the party, turns white. The best blackhead removers and acne spot products can certainly help create a clearer complexion over time, but the best pore vacuums may come in handy if you’re looking for a quick-fix-meets-deep-clean. “Pore vacuums use a gentle suction force to pull out debris, oil, and dead skin cells clogged in pores,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Brendan Camp. “They can help improve the appearance of skin and minimize the appearance of pore size.”
In short: Pore vacuums work—and are oddly satisfying (don’t judge, please and thanks). That said, they need to be used with an ~extreme~ abundance of caution. Technique is key, patience is going to be a virtue, and sensitive skin is unwelcome. Most importantly, using a well-vetted pore vacuum tool is key. Otherwise, you can be left with broken blood vessels, irritation, and a heck of a lot of redness. To make sure your purchase is up to par, we’re sharing our tried-and-tested recommendations and all the info you need to know about using the tool.
- The Best Pore Vacuum Overall: Dermaflash Dermapore Ultrasonic Pore Extractor & Serum Infuser
- The Best Luxury Pore Vacuum: Rodan + Fields Pore Cleansing MD System
- The Gentlest Pore Vacuum: Vanity Planet Exfora Microdermabrasion Wand
- The Best Multi-Purpose Pore Vacuum: Michael Todd Beauty Sonic Refresher Wet/Dry Sonic Microdermabrasion & Pore Extraction System with MicroMist Technology
- The Best Pore Vacuum With a Camera: Prabensei Blackhead Remover Pore Vacuum
What to Look For
Multiple Levels of Suction
Let me say this loud and clear: Customizability is key. Different areas of the skin can handle different levels of suction—it's not a one-size-fits-all situation. As such, you'll likely want to select a pore vacuum that has a variety of settings. "The greater the level of suction, the more likely you are to damage blood vessels leading to bruising," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. "Areas of thin skin, like the neck and skin around the eyes are especially susceptible to trauma. Areas of thicker skin, like the nose, can tolerate higher suction levels."
Variety of Tips
You're going to notice that a decent chunk of options on the market come complete with a singular base and a multitude of tip attachments. There's a good reason for all the add-ons. "Different shape tips allow you to use the device in different parts of the face," says Dr. Zeichner. A more narrow tip would be ideal for the sides of the nostrils, while a larger tip could be used along the forehead. Some pore vacuums will also come with microdermabrasion tips, which "offer gentle exfoliation along with suction benefits."
While most pore vacuums are going to operate with suction, it's worth calling out spatula devices, which sit just adjacent to pore vacuums, are probably preferable for sensitive skin types. According to Dr. Zeichner, they "offer gentle vibrations and can help remove blockages within the pores with gentle pressure that you control."
Which Skin Types Should Use Pore Vacuums
Pore vacuums are not for everyone, nor are they for every type of pimple. “Patients with sensitive skin may want to use a pore vacuum with caution,” warns Dr. Camp. Use can lead to irritation, inflammation, or broken blood vessels, especially in people who have rosacea. "You also have to be careful if you have any sort of bleeding disorder or bruise easily," says Dr. Zeichner. "Do not use the devices if you have any open or raw skin or active skin issues like eczema."
Pore vacuums are ideal for people who have oily or acne-prone skin, specifically those with blackheads or whiteheads that are already at a head. “These devices are best used on comedones once they have developed,” Dr. Camp adds. “Those with more inflammatory acne, such as pustules and cystic lesions, will need a different form of treatment.”
What Are the Risks of Using a Pore Vacuum?
The most common issue when using a pore vacuum: Skin irritation and redness, which is why sensitive skin types should steer clear. “Pore vacuums can exacerbate existing skin conditions like acne or rosacea,” explains Dr. Camp. “It can also cause discoloration in the form of hyperpigmentation, which can take a long time to resolve.” Pore vacuums can even lead to superficially dilated blood vessels, or telangiectasias. That’s why it’s important to start out slow and consult with your dermatologist if you have concerns.
The Best Pore Vacuums
Every pore vacuum on this list has been vetted by Marie Claire's Beauty Editor, Samantha Holender (hi, yes, me) and Marie Claire's Beauty Director, Deena Campbell; hand-selected by a board-certified dermatologist; or recommended by an industry professional. Each device is highly rated by reviewers, has a customizable design that allows you to tailor it to your skin type and concerns, and lives up to its claims. While pore vacuums certainly aren’t for everyone (lookin’ at you, sensitive skin) and the best option is largely dependent on your skin type and concerns, we feel confident that every tool on this list delivers results. For further guidance or if you have any concerns, check with your board-certified dermatologist.
Best Microdermabrasion Pore Vacuum
This is as close to an in-office microdermabrasion treatment as you’re going to get. “This product uses spinning disc technology and vacuum suction to both gently exfoliate skin and clean pores,” explains Dr. Camp. In the end, your skin is going to be exfoliated, brighter, and prepped for product absorption. You can choose from three caps, which have varying levels of intensity, to customize how intense your blackhead-sucking treatment will be. That said, there’s only one speed. If you’re looking for a wider variety of options, check out the Elite version.
Pros: Derm-recommended; Customizable tips
Cons: One speed
Customer Review: "This device is amazing! It makes my skin brighter and my skin feels so smooth. I originally bought this device to help with pigment issues and after using it consistently every week I've noticed significant improvement. It takes a few minutes a week to get great results and is easy to incorporate into beauty routine." — Sephora
Best Travel-Size Pore Vacuum
This device is actually the miniature version of the beloved Microderm GLO—an entry-level version without some of its add-ons (and its hefty price tag). With hundreds of five-star reviews, fans gush that this tool can replace costly in-office treatments. It comes with a blackhead suction tip, which can be set to three different speeds. That said, if you want more of a variety of tips, you'll have to purchase them separately.
Pros: Affordable; Easy to store; Gets rid of blackheads
Cons: Only one tip
Customer Review: "Love this product. I use it twice a month and it takes all the gunk out of my face and leaves it feeling soft. It also gives me that 'cupping' massage, that I feel like helps my skin, while giving it a soft glow. Seriously, highly recommended!" — Amazon
Best Multi-Purpose Pore Vacuum
“It took me a while to get into pore vacuums because I was terrified of leaving bruises on my face. But, adding this pore extraction system has been an awesome upgrade to my beauty routine. My blackheads are reduced (yes, even the stubborn ones around my nose and chin!) and my skin feels baby soft. I don't use it regularly, but it's perfect when I need a deep clean.” — Deena Campbell, Beauty Director
Pros: Multi-benefit; Customizable
Customer Review: "You wouldn't think that any machine bought from a store is strong enough to suck the stuff out from your pores but this tool does it! And the mist feels great after doing the treatments. My pores have literally shrunk and my makeup application looks so much smoother. I will definitely always have this included into my regimen." — Ulta
Best Hydrating Pore Vacuum
“Our hydration facial pore cleansing tool is much more than the average pore vacuum. With most pore vacuums, you are only getting extractions. With a GLOfacial treatment, your skin is also simultaneously infused with the GLOfacial concentrate, which is packed with clarifying salicylic and plumping hyaluronic acid for a satisfying cleanse and pro-level results with every use,” says BeautyBio founder and CEO Jamie O’Banion. “The treatment tips are designed to provide gentle extractions and exfoliation, so it’s perfect for all skin types...I recommend adding this game-changing tool to your skincare routine one to two times a week to maintain a healthy, hydrated glow.”
Pros: Gentle; Infuses skin with hydrating and acne-fighting ingredients, contains LED light
Cons: Complicated instructions
Customer Review: "I'm obsessed with this thing. It has pulled gunk out of my face that I swear has been there for years. You *can* do it too much but just use it a few times a week and enjoy the benefits of regular hydration facials with the best zit gunk vacuum on the market." — Sephora
Best Ultrasonic Pore Vacuum
You've heard the praise and read the rave reviews, but does this pore-busting product live up to the hype? The answer is yes, according to Dr. Camp. “This product does not use vacuum suction to clean pores. It uses ultrasonic vibrational technology to gently tease and push debris and oil out of clogged pores,” he says. The swiveled spatula works in two modes: Extract and infuse. The extract mode pushes out gunk from your pores, like excess oil and blackheads, while the infuse mode penetrates products deeper into the skin, like your go-to serum or moisturizer, past the skin's barrier. The result is nearly invisible pores.
Pros: Derm-recommended; Multi-purpose; Easy to use and clean
Cons: Can be too intense if you press too hard
Customer Review: "It's lightweight and easy to use. I use it after washing but not drying my face or after misting my face with water. I don't experience any discomfort while using it. I stick to slowing going over my T-zone twice a week and it's so satisfying to see the gunk collect on the end. If you aren't wowed by the results after the first use, don't be disappointed. I found that my congested pores cleared out after using the Extractor several times." — Dermstore
Best Pore Vacuum With a Camera
If you're all about pimple popping videos, this one is for you. It comes with a camera (you just sync it up to your phone), so you can see the pore vacuum sucking out your blackheads and whiteheads *really* closely. Seriously, you can enlarge the surface of your skin by up to 20 times. There are three suction heads to choose from and a range of intensities, so you can customize your treatment. That said, this baby is pretty powerful, so it's probably not best for super sensitive skin types.
Pros: Comes with a camera; Customizable
Cons: Can bruise sensitive skin
Customer Review: "As someone who finds pimple popping satisfying, this is super fun. The app connection is a breeze—the only thing that's weird to me is you have to connect to a different wifi that comes with it in order to use it. I don't use it for more than five to 10 minutes, so it's not the end of the world. Don't use this on an area that you've recent tried popping pimples on or leave it on your skin to suction I'm one spot too long, I did get a bruise doing the first one." — Amazon
Best Facial Spatula
This guy is one of Dr. Zeichner's personal favorites. In fact, he prefers it to the more traditional pore vacuum. It offers gentle vibration and only requires gentle pressure to be effective, which makes it ideal for those with more sensitive skin types. It's approach it two-prong: First, it's going to exfoliate the skin. Second, it's going to infuse skincare products.
Pros: Derm-approved; Two modes; Good for sensitive skin
Cons: Better suited for oil than clogged debris
Customer Review: "I was pleasantly surprised at how my skin felt after using this. I always notice how much softer and even my skin is the next day. I have tight pores, but they do get clogged around my nose and chin area. Honestly, I didn't expect much from this product but it really is able to get out some gunk. I've used it about a month now, once to twice a week. Each week seems easier to get stuff out, perhaps it is a bit of a learning curve to use something like this. So far I've only needed to charge once, hopefully the battery will hold up over time." — Target
Best Budget Pore Vacuum
Don't let the affordable price tag fool you: This pore vacuum has a heck of a lot of fancy features. First and foremost, it has a microdermasion tip to slough away dead skin cells, get rid of dry patches, and reveal fresher, glowier, and dewier skin. But that's just the start. There's also three speeds to choose from, as well as an alternate tip that really sucks out the gunk. Plus, it has an innovative wet feature that allows for a more refreshing and significantly less intense treatment.
Pros: Affordable, Safe for sensitive skin
Cons: Others are more powerful
Customer Review: "Prior to using Bella, I was struggling with blackheads and whiteheads in my T-zone area. Using Bella helped me so much to remove them without scarring my sensitive skin, and reduced my pore size. I am also obsessed with the nano-mist technology. It’s so refreshing on the skin and it reminds me so much of being at a spa. I definitely recommend Bella for radiant, glowing skin!!!!" — Target
Best Sleek Pore Vacuum
This sleek white tool from Nurse Jamie is designed to clean your skin while it unclogs your pores. It comes with three extremely easy to use features: Cleanse, enhance, and extract. The first is pretty self explanatory—just pair the setting with your favorite cleanser. The second setting should be used in tandem with your favorite skincare products; it'll help push the actives deeper into the skin. The third, while optional, is really where you'll get to work on your blackheads. And because there's no suction, you're less likely to irritate the skin—just start off with soft pressure.
Pros: User friendly; Multi-purpose
Customer Review: "I have very oily skin and enlarged pores that make me a big target for persistent blackheads. This really helps bring the blackheads on my nose to the surface. You can see the yucky stuff on the device when you’re done. I would recommend giving this a try." — Nordstrom
Gentlest Pore Vacuum
This microdermabrasion wand is designed to be gentle, so it's great if you have sensitive skin. In fact, you can use it every single night and still shouldn't have a problem. The customizable suction shape means that you won't feel it tugging on your skin—and you can opt for the softest setting. In addition to the blackhead-removing properties (the most important, obviously), you'll also experience an uptick in circulation and a boost in collagen production, both of which will give you a more youthful-looking complexion.
Pros: Good for sensitive skin; Customizable; Smart screen
Customer Review: "I really like this little guy. Small but mighty. It has excellent suction capabilities. I think it definitely works best after a proper facial steam. It definitely feels like it is acting as a natural collagen stimulant. My pores look clean after use and my skin feels extra soft." — Vanity Planet
Best Pore Vacuum for a Deep Cleanse
This pore extractor features a targeted tip that's made for you to gently glide across the skin in circular motions for a deep cleanse and exfoliation. Just be careful to not work it across one area more than three times. It also comes with a blackhead tip that applies just the right amount of pressure to properly extract pimples. Start by incorporating this into your skincare routine once per week to reap the benefits.
Pros: Powerful; Deep cleaning
Cons: Expensive; Might be too harsh for some
Customer Review: "The first time I used this I saw results. It's a very noticeable difference that keeps getting better. I use this about once per week. I recommend it if you have clogged and/or noticeably large pores (even if you’re the only one who notices)." — Rodan & Fields
Best Pore Vacuum for Mature Skin
This hefty tool has high-frequency vibration and several modes to serve specific ailments. Along with its cleanse and lift mode which gets rid of oil, dead cells, and debris, it also has an Ion+ and Ion- setting. Ion+ lifts unwanted oil and build-up from environmental elements. Ion- allows a deeper product penetration, so save your favorite serum for this. It also tightens sagging skin and promotes blood circulation for an extra plumped face.
Pros: Plumping; Good for mature skin
Cons: Not as powerful as other options
Customer Review: "I was super skeptical I would see any results because I just bought it on a whim because I have epic blackhead issues, but man was this the best thing I’ve ever used. It brought so much gunk out out my skin (once I figured out how best to aim it) I was seriously almost in tears. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see it come up on the first pass, experiment with the best angle and tool direction for you." — Amazon
Best Acne-Fighting Pore Vacuum
This cute device comes from celebrity-loved brand Skin Gym, which specializes in tools that de-puff and firm your skin. This specific tool is designed, like majority on this list, to get rid of all the pore-clogging grossness that's made a home in your skin. It does that extremely effectively—and more. Most notably, it comes with red and blue LED light therapy, which can address concerns like fine lines, wrinkles, and acne.
Pros: Cute design; Red light and blue light
Cons: Might be irritating to some
Customer Review: "It definitely does it’s job! I enjoy how there are multiple sized caps that you can use for different areas of the face. I would recommend this product." — Skin Gym
The Most Powerful Pore Vacuum
Get a deep clean with this skincare tool. The well-reviewed product offers three different powerful suction levels, and the LED screen makes it easy for you to select what you want. It gets to work removing everything from blackheads and whiteheads to dead skin and grease, leaving you fresh-faced. It comes with four tips, and three intensity levels, so you can truly customize your treatment. While it is one of the stronger pore vacuums, it does have a cold blue LED light to help soothe irritation.
Pros: Gives a deep clean; Great for whiteheads
Cons: Might be too powerful for some; Difficult to clean
Customer Review: "Definitely listen to the reviews and start off gentle! The suction is strong! I’ve had it for two weeks and I’ve only used it twice. The second time I didn't bruise! I find it’s a great addition to a little home facial. After I use it, it also seems that much easier to remove really deep blackheads. Don’t be shocked if you break out a little at first too. It’s part of the process." — Amazon
The Best Customizable Pore Vacuum
If you’re looking for a low-cost way to deep clean your skin right from your own home, check out this under-$40 device. This handy tool will get the job done and help you achieve a healthy-looking complexion. It comes with five heads: a few focus on unclogging pores, while another is for gentle exfoliation, and the final one is for skin firming. Just make sure you keep the tool moving—not hovering—to avoid bruising or irritation.
Pros: Affordable; Customizable; Multi-benefit
Cons: T-zone setting is too strong for most
Customer Review: "This tool is so great! If you are new to using a tool like this definitely start out on the lowest of the three settings before increasing the pressure. Also open your pores beforehand by using a facial steamer or hot towel to your face. This will ease the pore extraction tool and make it more effective on your skin! It removed so much dirt and gunk from my pores it was unbelievable!" — Target
How Does a Pore Vacuum Work?
In the same way that a real vacuum will suck up dust from the floor, a pore vacuum will suck up pore-clogging materials. “Pore vacuums usually have three levels of suction that work like a vacuum for your pores,” explains Jamie O’Banion. “The suction power increases with each level, so you can customize your treatment based on what’s best for your skin.” In the end, your whiteheads should be de-pused and your pores should be cleaner and look smaller.
How Do I Use a Pore Vacuum?
Whatever you, don’t just turn on the power button and go to suction town. Bad idea. You’ll want to read the instructions uber-carefully, as they’ll differ from tool to tool. The key to a successful treatment? “Always keep the tool moving and avoid hovering over a singular spot,” advises O’Banion. “If a tool is left on a single area, it can cause redness as circulation is pulled to that area.”
How Long Will It Take to See Results?
The suction should take care of whiteheads in one treatment, but you might need to be patient on the blackhead front. It can take time to dislodge all the gunk. That said, Dr. Camp feels that “if your acne is not responding to at-home treatments and you find yourself turning to your pore vacuum often, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist who will help you establish a better understanding of the cause of your acne and develop a treatment plan.”
Meet the Experts
Jamie O'Banion is the CEO and founder of BeautyBio, a clean-clinical skincare brand focused on science-backed solutions. She was recently featured in Forbes as one of four female entrepreneurs to watch in their issue highlighting the most successful female entrepreneurs in America.
Brendan Camp, MD, is double board-certified in dermatology and dermatopathology and sees patients at MDCS Dermatology: Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, which has locations in Upper East Side, Hampton Bays, Commack, Smithtown, Plainview, and Midtown East of Manhattan, New York. Patients have been coming to him for his expertise managing medical conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, warts, psoriasis, moles, and skin cancer, as well as cosmetic concerns and treatments with Botox®, fillers, lasers, and other skin rejuvenation devices. Dr. Camp graduated with honors from Cornell University, earning a degree in biochemistry. As a medical student at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, he participated in a one-year epidemiology fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, where he participated in viral outbreak investigations. He completed his internship in internal medicine at the University of Chicago and later completed additional residency training in dermatology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He also completed a fellowship in dermatopathology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 2012. He has previously served as an assistant professor of dermatology at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and worked in private practice just outside Washington DC in Northern Virginia. Dr. Camp is the author of several scientific articles that have been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the Journal of Cutaneous Pathology, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. He has also presented at meetings of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society of Dermatopathology, and the Society for Investigative Dermatology. Additionally, he is a reviewer for the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology Case Reports, a member of the Curriculum Task Force and previous member of the Public Education Committee of the American Academy of Dermatology, and a contributor to Men’s Health magazine.
As the Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital's Department of Dermatology, Dr. Zeichner has a broad interest in medical and cosmetic dermatology as well as clinical research. His specialty is the treatment of acne, as well as the cosmetic rejuvenation of the aging face. Dr. Zeichner treats general skin conditions, including eczema, rosecea, psoriasis, and skin cancer. In addition, he is well-versed in the use of Botox and dermal fillers, as well as lasers and chemical peels.
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Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.
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